Coffee and black tea are ubiquitous amongst morning routines the world over, but by no means do they have a monopoly in assisting our waking minds. Matcha tea is a unique type of green tea that has been fulfilling a similar role in morning routines since the 7th century, with a growing presence in cultural practices. The popularity of Matcha tea in the East led to its integration in various long-standing rituals and celebrations, and sometimes - as with the Japanese tea ceremony - even took centre stage.
Thanks to the effect it has on mental and physical performance, the benefits of drinking Matcha tea have been lauded for over 1000 years. While it was relatively rare initially, the public’s ever-increasing fondness of green tea over the centuries led to Matcha tea becoming commercially accessible. Nowadays, you will find Matcha tea being sold online and in shops, as well as being served in restaurants, coffee shops, and bars all over the country. For the past 4 years, Devon has even had its very own Japanese Matcha Tea brand, Kineta. If the name sounds familiar to you, it could be because you’ve already tried one of their cold-brew matcha drinks.
Matcha tea can fit comfortably into most morning routines, and there are a lot of reasons why it should be. Those who drink Matcha frequently often praise its savoury flavour and versatility, but the reason why many give Matcha a try in the first place is that they have heard of the effect it has and want to experience it for themselves. Below are just 4 examples of what Matcha tea can do and we’ve got to admit, our interest is piqued.
Feel Energised Without Making You Pay Later
Let’s start with something we can all appreciate: Caffeine. Caffeine helps us wake up and focus more easily during the day and though this characteristic is the cause of many romantic caffeine addictions, a cup of coffee tends to be packed with 70-75mg of the stuff per ½ teaspoon. This can lead to a restless peak before a spiraling crash into lethargy for anyone who has had too much to drink or has a low caffeine tolerance. Matcha tea offers a better balance to give you the energy and alertness one needs without packing too strong a punch. Whilst Matcha contains more caffeine than other green teas, sitting at about 35mg per ½ teaspoon, we can see that its only half of what coffee has.
On top of this, its effect on the body is partially moderated by a magical little compound called l-theanine. This amino-acid eases the effects of caffeine on the body and encourages the production of dopamine and serotonin, which are well known to regulate many aspects of our waking day such as our emotions, concentration, appetite and cognitive skills. As if all this wasn’t convincing enough, the caffeine contained in Matcha is a healthier type than that found in coffee. Known as theophylline, it can help you sustain an increased level of alertness for up to 6 hours as it slowly releases its energy.
Focuses The Mind & Reduces Stess
There is more to L-theanine than meets the eye, and it may explain why Matcha has famously been consumed by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Buddhist monks to aid meditation, as well as in those Japanese tea ceremonies to assist calm mindfulness for centuries. L-theanine has been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, the effect of which is induced relaxation without any drowsiness. If you are inclined to meditate, this calming effect fact coupled with theophyllines gradual energy release creates an ideal aid to concentration for hours on end.
It’s easy to see the benefit Matcha has in the workday. It promotes a constant stream of alertness, an increased ability to absorb and retain new information and it actually helps to lower levels of a stress hormone called corticosterone. It has also been shown to increase attention span and reaction time. If you tend to exercise first thing or early on in the day, Matcha is still there to spot you with a 35-43% increased capability to burn calories, as reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and an increased metabolic rate of roughly 30-40% compared to the average non-matcha drinker.
Protects The Body Through Good Nutrition
Eating an apple gives you a fuller range of beneficial nutrients than just drinking the juice of an apple as there are many nutrients that don’t make it from the apple’s flesh into the juice. Most teas are like apple juice in this way because the tea leaves infused with the liquor aren’t actually consumed with it. With Matcha, however, you get the whole hog. When producing Matcha, the tea leaves are collected to have stems and veins removed before the leaves get ground up into the fine powder known as Match. This powder isn’t to be taken out or thrown away like a tea bag or green tea leaves might; it is drunk with the liquid.
The goodness this harbours includes substantial levels of potassium, vitamins A and C, iron and much more. As well as aiding weight loss, studies have shown results supporting Matcha’s beneficial role of protecting the liver by decreasing the risk of liver disease. It also helps support healthy cholesterol levels by reducing levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, drinking matcha tea also actively helps protect against heart disease.
Detoxifies The Body & Battles Diseases
During the process of growing Matcha tea, the leaves are covered for twenty to thirty days in order to reduce their exposure to sunlight and foster an increase in chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll stimulates the immune system, energises the body, detoxifies the blood and much more. This alone would be enough for most to consider Matcha tea to be a superfood, yet its anti-oxidising effects go on. For instance, Matcha green tea is loaded with an organic compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), which some research suggests may have cancer-fighting properties.
There is still research to be done to confirm the scope of Matcha’s health benefits but studies up to this point show very positive signs. EGCg makes up about 60% of the catechins (an antioxidant series of chemicals) in the dry leaf that makes Matcha. It turns out that these antioxidants also help maintain skin and keep one looking youthful by reducing the effects of UV radiation on the body.
Founded by Leane Bramhall, Kineta is a Devon-based brand built around activity and adventure. The word ‘Kineta’ comes from the Greek word ‘Kinetic’, the energy responsible for all movement in the universe, and the brand itself was inspired by Leane’s experiences during her time climbing mountains in Japan. Kineta offers the highest quality of matcha tea available - commonly referred to as ‘Ceremonial-grade Matcha’ - as well as everything anyone could ever need to enjoy the experience drinking Matcha tea. Kineta has also developed a range of matcha-infused foods and drinks, such as Matchapple Juice and Matcha Protein Bars.
Visit their website, I Love Matcha Tea, to learn more about Kineta’s story, mission, and products.